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Guide To Cosmetic Surgery - Vaginoplasty
This is also known as ‘vaginal tightening’: it is a procedure designed for those women who have loose or slack vaginal muscles as a result of childbirth or stress incontinence.
Those women report a sense of embarrassment and lowering of their self-esteem as they find that they are unable to enjoy sexual intercourse. They find that these weak muscles can cause incontinence and other related problems.
Pelvic floor exercises can help but are not always successful and so surgery may be required to tighten loose vaginal muscles. This will result in improved tone, contraction and control.
The muscles of the vagina are joined together which shortens them and any excess skin is removed. This will reduce any excess vaginal lining as well.
In general, women find that they have loose vagina muscles as a result of childbirth, a prolapsed pelvis or just feel that their vagina is not tight enough. In either of these cases surgery is an option.
Suitability for vaginoplasty
If you have just had a baby then it is better to wait for a year until having this surgery. This allows time for everything to settle down.
If your health is good, you have no current medical problems and have realistic expectations then you will be considered for this procedure. Age, physical and emotional health and motivations for surgery are the determining factors.
If you find that you are experiencing a ‘pulling’ or ‘rubbing’ situation because of a torn or damaged vagina or have slack muscles due to childbirth then surgery can help. It will improve the appearance of your vagina as well as restoring your sex life. In some cases it can boost your sex life!
You might want to think about combining this with other gynaecological procedures such as labiaplasty (labial reduction) . This is another cosmetic surgery procedure which can enhance or reduce the inner or outer lips of the labia.
Your surgeon will take these and other factors into account when considering you for this procedure.
Preparing for surgery
This will include stopping smoking (if you do some) as this can slow down the healing of your wounds, avoiding certain medications as recommended by the surgeon and preparing things at home.
The surgeon will provide you with a list of guidelines - a sort of do’s and don’ts which include the above as well as other issues. It is important that you stick to these even if you don’t feel that they apply to you. They are there for a good reason and that is your safety and wellbeing.
The surgeon wants to be certain that you have no underlying health problems or allergies which can affect the surgery or the outcome. If you are refused surgery on the grounds of a health issue then rest assured that this will be for your benefit only.
In regard to what to prepare at home this refers to your recovery after surgery. You will be expected to get plenty of rest and let your body recover. This all takes time and can take around 2 to 4 weeks in all. A full recovery can take up to 6 weeks.
If you choose to have a general anaesthetic or the surgeon advises you do so then bear in mind that you will be tired and disorientated for 24 to 48 hours. This will mean spending that time sleeping or lying down resting. You will not feel like doing any of your normal everyday tasks such as shopping, cleaning or looking after your children.
So, it can be a good idea to take care of these tasks before your surgery. It might help to make a ‘to do’ list: this can contain the following tips:
- Order or buy an ample supply of medications and painkillers. Your surgeon will advise you on what is safe to take and what to avoid.
- Cook and prepare in batches, enough meals to see you through the recovery time. Once you are feeling better then you can resume cooking but for the first few days you will only want light snacks or protein rich meals.
- Buy plenty of bottled water as you will need to keep your fluid intake up and fresh fruit and vegetables. The vitamins and antioxidants in these will help your recovery.
- Buy antibacterial soap, gauze and dressings if required.
- Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen before or after surgery. The surgeon will advise you as to when it is safe to start taking these again.
- Ask your partner/friend/family member to drive you to the clinic or hospital. And see if they are able to stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery. Also see if they or someone else can help you at home for a couple of days.
- If you have children and/or pets then ask someone to keep an eye on them.
The day before your surgery can be a bit stressful. You will feel nervous and on edge but try not to worry. The surgeon will have your welfare at heart and he/she and his team will do their best to reassure you.
The day before, pack a small overnight bag or case and follow the instructions about what to eat and drink before surgery very carefully. This last item is especially important if you are having a general anaesthetic.
The vaginoplasty procedure
The surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthesia although it can be done under a local anaesthetic with sedation in a few cases. It takes around 1 to 2 hours to complete and may require you to stay overnight in hospital.
The surgeon will join together the loose or stretched muscles at the back of the vagina. This will have the affect of shortening and tightening these muscles and surrounding soft tissues. The shortened muscles are joined together with dissolvable stitches.
He or she may also shorten the length of the vagina before removing any unwelcome skin.
The scars will be inside the vagina.
A decrease in the length of the vagina can increase the amount of ‘friction’ experienced during sexual intercourse. This is an added bonus for a great many women.
You can expect some slight bleeding and soreness after surgery. You vagina might be swollen as well. Painkillers will be given to deal with any of this.
You can expect to feel like this for the first few days after surgery. It is a good idea to get plenty of rest as you will find it difficult to walk around.
Urination will be difficult and painful due to the burning or stinging sensation caused by the passage of urine over the surgical wound. It might be easier to urinate in the shower or pour lukewarm water over your genital areas you urinate in the toilet. This will ease over time.
The surgeon may advise you to do the following:
- Take showers only (avoid baths) for the first few days afterwards. Wait for a day after your operation before doing so.
- Avoid sexual relations for 4 to 6 weeks until your wound has healed.
- Avoid tight fitting underwear such as thongs for 1 to 2 weeks. Wear loose fitting underwear instead.
- Wear a sanitary towel for the first few days after surgery to deal with any bleeding. This is, in effect, a type of surgical dressing and a temporary measure only.
- Use a sanitary towel for your first period following surgery. Avoid tampons for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.
- Avoid any strenuous activities or sports for 2 to 4 weeks.
If you notice any unexpected symptoms such as infection, sharp increase in pain, rapid or irregular heart rate, chest pains or shortness of breath or excessive bleeding the contact your surgeon immediately.
You will be able to return to work a week after surgery. It will be 2 to 3 weeks before you see the full results of the procedure.
You will attend a series of follow up visits to check upon your progress.
The benefits of vaginoplasty
You will notice that your vagina feels tighter and that sexual arousal is enhanced. Many women state that their vagina feels the same as it did before they had children.
The scars are inside the vagina which means that patients are unable to tell that they’ve had surgery.
The vagina is smaller and tighter, and for many patients, feels the same before their pregnancy.
The vast majority of patients are happy with the results and feel that their quality of life has improved as a whole.
The risks of vaginoplasty
There are benefits and risks with all types of surgery. Complications with vaginoplasty are rare but do happen. They are:
- Excessive bleeding
- Bad reaction to anaesthesia
If you are overweight, smoke, have diabetes or another medical condition then you are at greater risk of these complications occurring.